Charities and voluntary organisations across Rotherham do a great job supporting our communities. Yet I know from talking to volunteer and charity staff that things are getting harder not easier under this Government.
As people struggle to get by their reliance on voluntary organisations is growing, as many are called on to plug the gaps caused by this Government.
At the same time we have seen an unprecedented attack on the sector from Ministers stinging from the criticism they have received from charities campaigning for the vulnerable. The Lobbying Act and changes to judicial review have tried to gag charities standing up for the people they represent.
Charities play a vital role offering opportunities for people to volunteer, learn new skills or gain confidence, feel supported and valued.
I would like to see a new approach for the voluntary sector, protecting and enhancing the voice of charities by repealing the Lobbying Act and giving the sector a seat at the table when local decisions are taken. This could be done by supporting the people who make charities a success by helping more people to volunteer by removing the barriers they face.
The Prime Minister came to office hailing the Big Society, but after four years we have learnt his vision was a sham. Renewing the partnership with the voluntary sector will support it to flourish.